Review: Starz’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand is Good Fun, If…


You will either love Starz’s new epic Spartacus: Blood and Sand or you may be appalled.

If sex, full frontal nudity, and graphic violence complete with blood splatters and chopped limbs make you queasy, then this isn’t the show for you. But if you can get through all of that stuff, then you’ll find yourself a good, fun time.

No question, probably the most talked about aspects of Spartacus are those sex scenes, genital, and seas of blood, but more importantly, does it have a story? And is it any good?

I think it is.

Spartacus tells the story of a man (Andy Whitfield) who is forced to become a Roman gladiator so he can be reunited with his wife. He loses the woman he loves, taken by the Romans after he stands up against them after a battle.

That basic end goal for our hero is the centerpiece of a story where an ancient world is brought to life using stunning CGI scenery like the films 300 and Sin City. With the corruption, politics, and ethnic tensions, you’d think this was Battlestar Galactica, but the unique setting both visually and storywise, offer a very interesting and sometimes engrossing drama.

The first episode has plenty of sex and limb-less gladiators, but the second episode shows that story will ultimately be the focus of the series. While I grew tired of the shock and awe gross-out scenes of Nip/Tuck, Spartacus‘ scenes become more relevant to the story. Maybe you get used to them, but that doesn’t matter when the story really gets going. And it definitely will as the lives of the other gladiators, slaves, and the higher ups get explored as well. There are definitely unexpected twists and turns to look forward to.

Though it may become a guilty pleasure for some, Spartacus shows tremendous potential. It crosses boundaries and pushes the limits of television, in terms of both content and production. It provides a welcome escape, and a fresh look at a world already depicted countless times in various mediums.

Hard sweaty bodies, rough, gritty fights… Spartacus: Blood and Sand may not necessarily be clean, but it is certainly good fun.

You can watch the full episode now on Starz.com.

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